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politics

Liveblog: Council Debates Cutting the Mayor’s Budget and Staff

Councillors continue their efforts to curb the mayor as the crisis in his office continues.

Rob Ford conferring with several councillors at City Hall on Wednesday.

On Friday, city council, by an overwhelming margin, voted to temporarily strip the mayor’s office of the power to appoint and fire committee chairs, and to manage emergencies that are declared in Toronto. Today, their efforts to curb the mayor—effectively reducing him to the status of a councillor—continue, with a debate about cutting his office budget and staff complement.

Follow along for live updates.


5:34 PM: And that’s it—meeting adjourned. Rob Ford hasn’t yet addressed the results.

5:31 PM: Absent: Rob Ford (due to his conflict), Gloria Lindsay-Luby (a previously planned absence), Giorgio Mammoliti (because he said he couldn’t support the proceedings).

5:29 PM: The five councillors most frequently in the minority: Doug Ford, Speaker Frances Nunziata, Budget Chief Frank Di Giorgio, Anthony Perruzza, Vincent Crisanti.

5:28 PM: VOTING ON THE PACKAGE AS A WHOLE, IN LIGHT OF ALL THOSE AMENDMENTS, PASSES 37-5.

5:26 PM: MOTION REMOVING MAYOR’S AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO SIT AS A VOTING MEMBER OF EVERY COUNCIL COMMITTEE PASSES 32-9.

5:25 PM: MOTION MAKING THE DEPUTY MAYOR THE CHAIR OF COUNCIL’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PASSES 36-5.

5:22 PM: MOTION ALTERING THE SUNSET CLAUSE SO THESE CHANGES LAST ONLY UNTIL THE INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER’S REPORT AND NOT NECESSARILY UNTIL THE END OF COUNCIL’S TERM FAILS 9-32.

5:20 PM: MOTION “TO DELEGATE AUTHORITY TO THE DEPUTY MAYOR IN RESPECT OF THE POWERS REMOVED FROM THE MAYOR” (in respect to the previous borrowing motions) PASSES 38-4.

5:20 PM: MOTION REMOVING THE MAYOR’S POWER TO AUTHORIZE TEMPORARY BORROWING PASSES 37-5.

5:18 PM: MOTION REMOVING MAYOR’S AUTHORITY TO ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS CONCERNING THE ISSUANCE AND SALE OF DEBENTURES PASSES 37-5.

5:17 PM: MOTION REMOVING MAYOR AS MEMBER OF THE DEBENTURE COMMITTEE PASSES 34-8.

5:16 PM: MOTION AMENDING PROCEDURES SO THAT THE CLERK AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS SIGN MINUTES PASSES 37-6.

5:14 PM: MOTION AMENDING PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS POLICY PASSES 39-3.

5:13 PM: MOTION GIVING COUNCIL AS A WHOLE POWER TO FILL VACANCY IN CHAIR OF APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE PASSES 37-5.

5:13 PM: MOTION TRANSFERRING THE CHAIR OF THE STRIKING COMMITTEE (which helps manage council appointments) TO THE DEPUTY MAYOR PASSES 35-7.

5:12 PM: MOTION STRIPPING MAYOR OF POWER TO SPEAK FIRST OR LAST ON ANY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM PASSES 30-12.

5:11 PM: MOTION STRIPPING MAYOR OF POWER TO DESIGNATE KEY ITEMS AT COUNCIL DEBATE PASSES 34-10.

5:10 PM: MOTION TRANFERRING RESPONSIBILITY OF MAYOR’S STAFF TO DEPUTY MAYOR PASSES 36-6. Opposed: Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Frances Nunziata, Anthony Perruzza.

5:07 PM: Voting! MOTION CUTTING THE MAYOR’S OFFICE BUDGET BY ABOUT 40 PER CENT PASSES 37-5. Opposed: Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Frances Nunziata.

5:06 PM: First the speaker needs to rule on whether Doug Ford’s snap election motion is or is not in order. “The election is not before us, so I’ll have to rule that motion out of order,” she says.

5:02 PM: Voting time. Now Anthony Perruzza is asking to separate the motion and allow voting on its constituent parts individually.

5:00 PM: Integrity commissioner has just sent a note to the mayor “advising him not to vote on the motions.” This advice is non-binding, but the mayor says he will follow it, excusing himself from the vote. Rob Ford leaves council chamber.

4:59 PM: “This is going to be outright war” in the next election. Also, somehow, what council is doing is equivalent to attacking Kuwait, and the full wrath of someone-or-other is going to rain down on their heads.

4:57 PM: After saying he is “on the side of the poor people” Ford then mentioned that two councillors have gotten into trouble with drinking and driving, and he was happy to move on, didn’t hold it over them. Then tells people to watch his show on Sun TV tonight.

4:56 PM: Discovering religion (something the mayor doesn’t generally cite in debate), Ford tells us that his father was a Bible school teacher, and that his father told him it is only those without sin who should cast the first stone. “This is going to hurt democracy in this city forever.”

4:55 PM: “There are only so many times you can apologize…but you guys just won’t give up.”

4:54 PM: Now turning to the matter at hand, thanks the “thousands and thousands” who have been urging him to “stay the course.” Calls this a coup d’état—”not a democratic process, a dictatorship process.”

4:53 PM: Rob Ford starts: “I want to congratulate the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and I want to wish them the best of luck…Make Ontario proud.”

4:51 PM: A few councillors have been coming in and out of the chamber: there’s a TTC meeting happening one floor down, and several councillors sit on the transit board. (On their agenda, among other things: a fare hike for the TTC.) Four of them file back into the room rapidly, learning that we’re near the end of debate.

4:48 PM: Michael Thompson, chair of the economic development committee, says the office of the mayor has been violated by the mayor’s conduct. Has received calls saying that people will not attend public events if the mayor is present. “How many of us came to office wanting to fight violence, wanting to fight drugs?” But now they can’t do so easily, because the mayor is associated precisely with those things.

4:43 PM: Shelley Carroll’s turn to speak; she rises and flips through the 474-page police ITO—the document that details the relationship between the mayor and Sandro Lisi, who faces drug and extortion charges (the latter in conjunction with attempts to obtain the crack video). “What happened on March 26, 2103; March 27, 2013; March 28, 2013 is still a problem for me.” Says her concern isn’t just the mayor’s health. Those are the dates spanning Anthony Smith’s murder and a flurry of calls between Lisi and the mayor.

4:42 PM: Frances Nunziata, council’s speaker and one of the mayor’s oldest and most loyal allies: “This is really quite vicious.” Says her colleagues are politicizing matters, previously passed motions are sufficient.

4:35 PM: Anthony Perruzza, one-time lefty, now mayoral ally, says that today’s motion will effectively create two mayors: one elected by the people of Toronto and one elected “by proxy” by council.

4:33 PM: In one week from today, Toronto will launch its operating and capital budgets, which collectively amount to roughly $13 billion.

4:28 PM: Budget chief Frank Di Giorgio: “We can’t legislate behaviour… Nothing that we do today will induce the mayor until he recognizes that problem [himself].” What we can do is “recognize that we have a mayor who may have some frailties, but this is a team sport—and as members of a team, when we have someone who falters, we’re are obligated, in my view, to put them on the bench.” “There are tools that we have that allow us to include the mayor…and continue to follow what he’s been doing.” Nobody is sure where he is going with this. Does not say whether he’ll be supporting today’s proposed limits on the mayor.

4:24 PM: Cesar Palacio, addressing the mayor. “You could have had a fairy tale of redemption. But you didn’t. Please don’t blame us for something we are not responsible for.”

4:24 PM: Heckler starts shouting “This is a waste of time!” Ford thanks him as he gets booted from the chamber.

4:21 PM: Conservative councillor David Shiner makes a plea to the mayor to get help, stop putting everyone through this. Mayor leans forward to listen intently for a while, then goes to his desk and starts scrolling through notes. “I am trying to speak the mind of the majority of my residents, which is democracy.” Says he’ll be supporting the motions.

4:17 PM @TessKalinowski: Best example of how city business isn’t proceeding is today’s TTC mtg where dozens sit in suspended animation pending council vote.

(Kalinowski is the Toronto Star‘s transportation reporter.)

4:16 PM: Frances Nunziata returned to the speaker’s chair a short while ago. The mayor stands near here, facing his colleagues and sipping coffee, and doesn’t return to his seat.

4:11 PM: Adam Vaughan: “You need help, and I hope someone will convince you to get it. It probably won’t be me, but I hope someone does.” Says it isn’t council’s job to run an intervention. “This job requires a sound mind in a time of emergency. It requires a capable and compassionate hand in the time of stress.” Motion is to “restore order to City Hall, to quite frankly protect staff.” “I’ve heard my colleagues talk about democracy. This is democracy… It’s deliberate; it’s transparent.”

4:08 PM: Rob Ford walks over to Pam MacConnell, puts his arm around her shoulder, and gives her what is apparently intended to be a friendly squeeze. She walks away shaking her head.

4:06 PM: James Pasternak has a motion! It would change the timing of the sunset clause on the motions. Rather than having the limits on the mayor last until the end of this term of council, they would last until the integrity commissioner reports back to council—in a report councillors requested last week—on Rob Ford’s possible violations of council’s code of conduct. (That report was requested “as soon as possible, but no later than the February 19, 2014, meeting of City Council.”)

4:02 PM: A few councillors are raising objections on the grounds that some elements of the motion have been revised, and that they didn’t see this more than a few minutes before the meeting. This is nonsense, procedurally: this is precisely how council works, every single meeting. Councillors introduce amendments without notice and debate them on the spot every single meeting.

4:00 PM: Paul Ainslie, one-time Ford ally: “We’ve reached the end of our options… Something has to be done.”

3:57 PM: Kristyn Wong-Tam rises to say that Rob Ford is being treated differently than racialized men and women who have been arrested and charged by police in the Dixon Road investigation (Project Traveller) and that if the police won’t act to curtail the mayor’s behaviour (or at least haven’t yet), it falls to council to do so. She condemns the mayor specifically for making homophobic and racist remarks—things which have garnered considerably less attention than the drug use (alleged or admitted).

3:49 PM: “He’s a bully! The people of Toronto are tired of it!” A man shouts as he is booted from the chamber by security. Applause for him as he leaves.

3:43 PM: Rob Ford has apologized for knocking one of his colleagues, councillor Pam MacConnell, over in the outburst a few minutes ago.

3:40 PM: This day began with some councillors saying that today’s motion was more contentious than the ones passed Friday, but the mayor and his brother are likely to only harden the votes against them with their behaviour.

3:37 PM: Seventy-five days from now is January 31, 2014, which is a Saturday. The municipality doesn’t hold elections on weekends, so the earliest day an election could be held would be February 3. Under questioning by Gord Perks, Doug says his intent is that this election would replace the regularly scheduled election slated for October 27, 2014. Guffaws—legislatively this is a preposterous suggestion.

3:32 PM: Under questioning, Doug Ford clarifies that his intent is that his motion apply just to the mayor’s seat—not an election for all council seats. He amends his motion accordingly.

3:30 PM: Rob Ford is still running the meeting from the speaker’s chair. This is unprecedented—he does so only on very rare occasions, when both the speaker and deputy speaker are unavailable. (If either of them were there right now, Doug’s motion would likely have been ruled out of order immediately.)

3:28 PM: Doug: “This isn’t about Rob’s personal issues here today. This is about making sure we don’t break the law and statutes of Ontario.”

3:27 PM: Doug Ford has a motion! It would call for a snap election with a 30-day nomination period and the election 45 days later. Requires enabling legislation by Queen’s Park.

3:21 PM: Procedurally, council must vote on the deferral before resuming its debate. Motion to defer item until medical opinion is filed with the clerk FAILS 30-6.

3:13 PM: Mammoliti has a motion! To defer today’s proposals “to such time as a medical opinion has been given to the City Clerk on a confidential basis by an independent health care provider on the mayor’s ability to continue the duties of the mayor’s office, or if a medical leave would be required.” Says that he thinks the mayor is addicted to (unspecified) substances and that he reached out to the mayor multiple times last week to no avail.

3:06 PM: Budget chief Frank Di Giorgio asks Filion whether the proposals regarding debenture and borrowing aren’t redundant, since the mayor never does those things anyway—he sends someone else on his behalf. Which maybe creates a different impression than Di Giorgio intended.

3:05 PM: Rob Ford is back chairing this meeting.

3:01 PM: This was almost certainly a tactic on the mayor’s party—his strategy throughout has been to play the victim and make his colleagues look as if they are ganging up on him. Video of a couple of hundred people screaming at him might, in the mayor’s idiosyncratic approach to spin, count in the same way. He chose to approach the public gallery, and he looked pretty pleased with the results.

2:56 PM: Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon asks why the security accompanying the mayor—a former City staffer who is now retained privately by the mayor as his driver—was following the mayor as he made his tour of the public gallery, recording members of the public. Staff do not know. He was also wearing an official City ID badge, though he is no longer employed by the municipal government.

2:52 PM: Calm gradually restored. Speaker backing off of threat to clear the public gallery, asks all media cameras to return upstairs to the press gallery, and brings meeting to order. Sort of.

2:50 PM: Speaker says she will ask security to vacate all members of the public from the council chamber.

2:47 PM: Rob Ford, accompanied by security, starts walking slowly around the perimeter of the public gallery. Speaker calls a recess. Gallery starts chanting “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” A few reach out to shake his hand. “You don’t steal our money, and we love you!” Another shouts “How do you know Anthony Smith, who was murdered??” Doug Ford: “How about we get the real people of Toronto down here?!” Rob Ford walks back to his seat, looking fairly satisfied, smiling, slightly red in the face. Doug Ford, to an angry member of the public: “You’re the scumbag!”

And also, this incident involving Councillor Pam McConnell:

2:46 PM: Doug Ford persists in calling this meeting illegal.

2:45 PM: Oh! I’m told by people who were sitting closer that they heard Ford chant “NDP! NDP!”

2:43 PM: Doug Ford rises to ask the speaker if “all the special interest groups, the CUPEs” can be cleared from the chamber. As she starts replying—to say that they will be if they disrupt proceedings—Rob Ford starts chanting “MPP! MPP!” (Doug wants to run for Queen’s Park.)

2:40 PM: Ford is now going overtime. Says Filion has spent $11,000 of his office budget representing one ward while Ford has spent $7,000 of his office budget representing all 44 wards. Considerable laughter in the public gallery, and a few people clapping in support. (Nobody responds “Well, then why do you care if we take away your budget, anyway?”)

2:38 PM: Rob Ford rises to question Filion, asks “Aren’t you trying to accomplish [impeachment or removal],” which council cannot do? Filion: “What’s before us is what council can legitimately do.”

2:37 PM: Giorgio Mammoliti is now questioning John Filion, as mover of the motion. He asks whether Mel Lastman’s comments about people boiling in a pot were “becoming of a mayor.” Filion refuses to answer on the grounds that this is absurd (or, formally, that it is irrelevant to the motion before us), and the speaker backs Filion up.

2:33 PM: Filion: “Today we have before us [tools] we can use to stabilize the City government. I believe we are obliged to act.”

2:32 PM: Filion: “To do nothing would betray the faith the constituents have placed in us to act in the best interests of the city. To ask the province to step in ignores that there is a talented team…at the city” that can act.

2:31 PM: Council has the “wisdom and authority to take action” to bring this ongoing situation, the “sideshow,” to an end.

2:29 PM: That’s it for questions of staff. Now Councillor John Filion rises up to formally introduces the amendments to the set of proposals up for discussion today. “Mayor Ford has had many choices. Would he keep faith with the public by answering questions fully?” Filion asks. “Would he change his behaviour? Would he step aside and seek help?” He hasn’t, Filion says, and every day we as a city wake up wondering “what’s next?”

2:24 PM: Rob Ford is now listing the hundreds of calls and thousands of electronic messages he receives. He says: 3,000 letters; 46,000 “cms” (we assume he means SMS) messages; 138,000 emails; 123,000 office phone calls; and 22,000 calls to his home, cell, and OnStar numbers. How then, he asks, can he continue to do his job with just eight staffers? City clerk replies that the mayor’s office budget “is for statutory purposes; it separates out statutory and non-statutory purposes.” Which is to say, the mayor’s penchant for soliciting and responding to calls regarding unfilled potholes is not, actually, among the mayor’s legislative duties. (We are shocked. Shocked!)

2:15 PM: A number of councillors have been pressing this matter of legal authority—whether they are overstepping their authority in shrinking the mayor’s office budget and staff. (The other proposals have not come in for much discussion yet.) Staff reiterated that we are “in uncharted waters” but that they believe council is on firm legal ground. One of the City’s lawyers says that the motions would not render the mayor “mayor in name only”—i.e., his statutory powers would be preserved.

1:53 PM: Rob Ford is now chairing the meeting into his own reduction of powers. (The speaker, Frances Nunziata, wants a turn to ask staff questions, and deputy speaker John Parker approached the mayor, they exchanged a few words, and then he returned to his own seat.)

rob ford office budget debate

1:45 PM: Of course, someone has already made an animated GIF.

1:35 PM: A few minute ago, Rob Ford mimed drunk driving (takes a dramatic swig, then steers erratically, then puts hands up in the air as the car spins out of control) in the direction of Paul Ainslie and Ana Bailão, two councillors who have had incidents since being elected. In May, Ainslie received a warning and three-day licence suspension; Bailão pled guilty to charges resulting from an incident in October and was banned from driving for one year.

1:33 PM: There is more concern about today’s set of motions than there was about the ones debated on Friday because, according to some councillors, they don’t just curb the mayor’s power but come much closer to replacing him with the deputy mayor—and thus approach the limits of council’s (legal or moral) authority. It’s why City staff have retained outside counsel, to provide additional resources to explore these legal concerns.

1:30 PM: Staff clarify that if all these motions pass, the mayor would remain as a member of the executive committee, but he would no longer be its chair.

1:19 PM: There are currently 20 staff in the mayor’s office. If the motion passes, it’s unclear how many he would have left. He would have about 40 per cent of his current staff budget left; it’s still to be determined how many staff that would cover—approximately eight—but City officials believe it would be sufficient to ensure he can fulfill his statutory duties.

1:16 PM: Full text of the revised motion:

City Council reallocate the operating budget of the Office of the Mayor as follows:

(a) the budget of the Office of the Mayor be set at $95,000 for the remainder of 2013 and the budget of the Office of the Mayor for January 1 to November 30, 2014, be set at $712,000, plus the amount of the Mayor’s salary and benefits.

(b) the balance of the operating budget in 2013 in the amount of $429,880, and for January 1 to November 30, 2014 in the amount of $882,820 be re-allocated to the City Clerk’s Office to be administered under the oversight of the Deputy Mayor.

In the best interests of the City’s continued effective operation, City Council authorize the Deputy Mayor, in consultation with the City Clerk, to assume the responsibility for staffing and effect the transfer of existing staff of the Mayor’s Office to the Office of the City Clerk, in accordance with the reallocated operating budget and to provide options to staff not transferred in relation to their continued employment or severance in accordance with clause 15 of their employment contracts.

City Council suspend the necessary rules and substitute new rules that give effect to the following:

a. the Deputy Mayor is the chair of the Executive Committee.
b. the Executive Committee elects a vice chair from among its own members.
c. the Mayor is no longer a member of all Council committees by virtue of office, and does not enjoy the rights and privileges of other committee members when present at a committee meeting.
d. The Mayor can no longer designate or set times for key matters
e. The Mayor can no longer elect to speak first or last on agenda items
f. The Deputy Mayor chairs the Striking Committee by virtue of office and the Mayor no longer has the power to chair or assign the chair’s position.
g. If a vacancy in the chair of the Civic Appointments Committee occurs, City Council fills the vacancy and the committee elects its own chair.
h. If a vacancy occurs in the position designated by the Mayor on the Affordable Housing Committee, City Council fills the vacancy.
i. The City Clerk consults with the Speaker instead of the Mayor on the urgency of motions without notice received after the agenda closing and before the Council meeting under s. 27-65

City Council amend the public appointments policy to provide that City Council appoints the Corporations Nominating Panels.

City Council amend s.27-112 of the Council Procedures to provide that the Clerk and the Chair of the meeting signs minutes of meetings once adopted.

City Council amend Chapter 30, Debenture and Other Borrowing, to

a. remove the Mayor as a member of the Debenture Committee;
b. appoint the Deputy Mayor as the Chair of the Debenture Committee;
c. remove the Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Budget Committee as the Mayor’s Alternates in respect to certain authorities currently granted to the Mayor under that Chapter;
d. remove the Mayor’s authority, together with the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, to enter into agreements during the remainder of the current term of Council for the issuance and sale of debentures, and to enter into any additional agreements to provide for the reduction of interest rate or currency risk;
e. remove the Mayor’s authority, together with the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, to apply on behalf of the City to regulatory bodies for any approval required for any agreement for the issuance of debentures;
f. remove the Mayor’s authority to authorize the temporary borrowing of funds together with the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, during the remainder of the current term of Council, for both current expenditures and for capital works which are to financed by debenture or bank loans; and
g. to delegate authority to the Deputy Mayor in respect of the powers removed from the Mayor under parts (d), (e) and (f) above.

1:11 PM: Doug Ford rises! He wants to know whether the outside counsel the City has retained to help advise them in this matter has ever read the City of Toronto Act. (This is a preposterous question and is met with jeers from the public gallery.) This outside counsel is Freya Kristjanson, and her legal background on municipal issues is extensive; she was hired earlier today.

1:09 PM: Here are the mayor’s official duties, as outlined in the City of Toronto Act:

It is the role of the mayor of the City, as the head of council,

(a) to act as chief executive officer of the City;
(b) to preside over meetings of council so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
(c) to provide leadership to council;
(d) to represent the City at official functions; and
(e) to carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act.


As chief executive officer of the City, the mayor shall,

(a) uphold and promote the purposes of the City;
(b) promote public involvement in the City’s activities;
(c) act as the representative of the City both within and outside the City, and promote the City locally, nationally, and internationally; and
(d) participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the City and its residents.

1:08 PM: Also under questioning, City staff say that the revisions to the motion as they pertain to the mayor’s budget specifically were made to ensure that the mayor’s office has sufficient resources to ensure that Ford can continue carrying out those statutory duties. “Staff advice went into the revised motion,” we are told.

1:05 PM: Under questioning, City staff are adamant that none of the motions under consideration today would impinge upon the mayor’s statutory (i.e. provincially established) powers. Council cannot limit powers given to the mayor by the province, and if they did so, this would be what might expose them to a plausible legal challenge.

1:01 PM: There’s now a revised version of the motion being circulated. Key changes: mayor’s budget would still shrink, but not quite so much—he’d have more than the rest of the councillors but less than half of what he currently gets; the deputy mayor would manage the full transition of the mayor’s staff; the mayor would lose his current ability to designate “key items” for debate at council meetings; the mayor would lose his current ability to speak first or last on any agenda item, as per his preference; the mayor would lose his role in public appointments (to the City’s various agencies, boards, commissions, and so forth); and the mayor would be stripped of his authority to sign debenture agreements and enter into the temporary borrowing of funds.

12:57 PM: We begin with questions to City staff, so that councillors can clarify the intention and implications of the motions before them. Mammoliti wants to know if council can ask Ford to provide for a doctor’s note attesting to his fitness to carry out his duties. They can, is the answer, though nobody has any idea what this might accomplish.

12:52 PM: Giorgio Mammoliti rises on a point of privilege to announce, “I will not play part of this illegal meeting,” but also to indicate that he’ll be moving amendments to the motions before us. Some people applaud—the mayor’s supporters are still in the minority in the council chamber, but there are more of them than there were last week.

12:49 PM: Ford’s floating in and out of the chamber, rises to ask for seating for his lawyers, who can’t find a place to sit in the room.

12:43 PM: The mayor isn’t in his seat as we rise to sing the anthem.

12:40 PM: The motions being debated today:

“That as a temporary measure until November 30, 2014:

1. City Council delegate to the Deputy Mayor all powers and duties which are not by statute assigned to the Mayor.

2. City Council reallocate the operating budget of the Office of the Mayor as follows:
a. The staff salary and office budget under the control of the Mayor be the same as that of a member of Council.
b. The balance of the operating budget be reallocated to the City Clerk’s Office to be administered under the oversight of the Deputy Mayor.

3. City Council authorize that all existing members of the Mayor’s staff be offered the opportunity to continue their employment either with the Mayor or as part of a transfer of staff to be overseen by the Deputy Mayor who shall assume responsibility for staffing, including hiring and firing.

4. City Council suspend the necessary rules and substitute new rules that give effect to the following:
a. the Deputy Mayor is the chair of the Executive Committee.
b. the Executive Committee elects a vice chair from among its own members.
c. the Mayor is no longer a member of all Council committees by virtue of office, and does not enjoy the rights and privileges of other committee members when present at a committee meeting.”

12:38 PM: Council chamber is one again full to overflowing, the row of broadcast cameras twice its normal size. We are all here to see council debate the most drastic of a series of measures aimed at reducing the mayor to figurehead status, leaving him with just a single vote on council and some ceremonial duties, but no other real power.

Comments

  • HotDang

    It would have been nice if he hadn’t won the appeal in the conflict of interest case.

  • Gerard Stocker

    In the case of lawyers: “Counsel” not “council,” please. Very confusing under the circumstances.

    • TorontoistEditors

      Entirely right. Thanks for letting us know – has been fixed.

  • vampchick21

    But Doug…have YOU read the act? Or are you still trying to find Waldo. (damnit, there goes my resolve to ignore all things Ford today)

  • Guest

    Hamutal’s analysis is always illuminating, but the series of typos that mix up “council” and “counsel” muddies the waters considerably, as both of these nouns figure prominently in the article.

    • TorontoistEditors

      I’ve just fixed all the ones I spotted but please do let me know if there are others I missed!

      • Gueat

        1:33 PM “retained outside council” –> counsel (and “also according to some councillor’s” –> councillors)

        1:11 PM “whether the outside council” –> counsel

        1:11 PM “This outside council is” –> counsel

        • TorontoistEditors

          Hit refresh? Fixed those all about an hour ago. And thanks again for the fresh eyes.

  • MER1978

    If only there was a way to turf both Fords + Mammoliti.

    • Testu

      There is, it’s the next municipal election. It’s just a year away, unfortunately.

      I wouldn’t get my hopes up about Mammoliti either, he’s been this crazy and useless for years and he keeps getting re-elected.

      • vampchick21

        Ford said on one of his US media interviews that the people will speak in October 2014. To which I screamed at the TV “Yes and you won’t like what we have to say!”

        On a side note, screaming at the tv upset my kittens, so now my husband turns off the tv when Ford come on. That and he said the vein in my temple looked like it was about to burst.

        • Testu

          It’s amazing that the Fords continue to cause real physical harm to otherwise calm and reasonable people in this city.

          Hypertension rates must be going through the roof.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          I often picture Ford being pelted by tomatoes thrown by an angry mob at Nathan Philips Square. It’s a good way to relieve tension and anger when dealing with all things Fordian.

  • marcel

    Please protect the reputation of your city TORONTO and the only way isti RESIGNE Mr Ford

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      The Fords don’t care about the City of Toronto. Both Mayors are have monstrous egos and care only about what is good for them. From here until the next election Mayor Dirtbag and The Other Mayor will do their level best to gum up the works at City Hall. it’s a scorched earth policy that will keep their base happy(who don’t care about and mistrust city hall) and keep RoFo in contention for the 2014 election.

  • vampchick21

    Wait a second, why were they taping members of the crowd? That whole hullaballo before the recess was called? Is that for their show?

    • dsmithhfx

      And is that goon going to charged with assault for charging and knocking down camera crews at Robs last presser? He has become an extension of the Fords’ bullying, and should be permanently banned from City Hall.

  • istoronto

    Rob and Doug seem to be wanting to get booted out of the chamber. It’s the only explaination for their behaviour. That and the fact that they have the mentality of ten year old spoiled brats.

    • vampchick21

      That’s a bit of an insult to 10 year old spoiled brats I think.

  • vampchick21

    It’s official. Doug Ford is a total and complete freaking idiot. WHY AM I WATCHING THE LIVE STREAMS???? WHY GODS WHY??????

    • Testu

      No, don’t!

      Just breath calmly and forget about all of this. Until you see it in the paper tomorrow morning.

      • vampchick21

        *weeps softly*

  • dsmithhfx

    “Rob Ford has apologized for knocking one of his colleagues, councillor Pam MacConnell, over in the outburst a few minutes ago”

    Wait, what !?

    • vampchick21

      He rushed the gallery or to his brother’s aid (not fully sure on that actually) and steamrolled Clr MacConnell. Gave her a fat lip.

      • TorontoistEditors

        If you refresh we’ve added a video clip.

      • dsmithhfx

        This is wrong on so many levels. It’s gone waaay past he should be physically restrained and removed from city hall. Seriously, a squad of TPS uniforms should be down there doing just that.

  • vampchick21

    What the hell?

  • vampchick21

    You know, they have treatments for paranoia. you might want to look into that.

  • dsmithhfx

    I think a lot of people here might be willing to overlook the substance abuse, if only it hadn’t had such demonstrably terrible consequences for all concerned.

    It’s the serial public misbehavior, the hanging with criminals, the lying, the refusing to cooperate with police, bullying colleagues.

    Really, the man has no redeeming qualities or qualifications to hold office. His public record is utterly, utterly abysmal. He hasn’t saved us any money like he promised. Instead, he’s wasted a great deal of it.

    It’s really sad you and your ilk are so willfully ignorant about this man. Fortunately though, your numbers are dwindling with every minute of this degrading spectacle.

  • OgtheDim

    “Rob Ford is now the most trusted Mayor in the game.”

    This isn’t twister.

    • vampchick21

      Oh lord…his post just showed up in the Star’s live feed. Sigh.

  • OgtheDim

    Something’s up with the Ford’s today and their behaviour.
    Its like Rob has given up on council and is trusting in his lawyer’s to keep him around.

    That and the whole taping of people in the gallery thing seems destined for a commercial.

    • dsmithhfx

      Says a lot about rusty-eye that he is willing to let himself be used for this.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      The taping is probably for the new bully pulpit on SunTV.

  • vampchick21

    So I’m reading the live blog on The Star and see the occasional reader comment/tweet. Seems some people just don’t understand the motion under debate right now. It’s not to remove him, it’s to curtail his powers as granted by council (not the powers granted to the mayor by provincial legislation). Seriously, I wonder about society now.

    • OgtheDim

      You gotta admit, its a pretty obscure thing to know the difference between this stuff.

      • tomwest

        No it’s not!

        • OgtheDim

          Oh yes it is.

          (hmmm…panto Rob Ford)

          Anyways, the average person is not going to know the difference between powers invested in the mayoral role by the province and powers invested in the role by city council.

          Never assume people think as deeply as they do in here.

          • tomwest

            (+1 to Panto Rob Ford!)
            I think the average person knows the difference between “remove from office” and “strip of powers”.

          • Testu

            The average person seems to have forgotten that TO City Council was democratically elected by them to act on their behalf. “remove from office” vs “strip of powers”is one nuance too many.

  • HotDang

    That’s the stupidest argument in the world. There isn’t a politician in recent memory as mired in filth as Rob Ford. Trying to set up a equivalence with anyone else is a fool’s errand.

  • HotDang

    Swearing, smoking, etc., aren’t equivalent to:

    * smoking crack, then lying about it for six months.

    * drinking and driving.

    * numerous conflicts of interest.

    * frequent public stupors.

    * frequently being drunk at work.

    * having your drug dealing best friend extort people to recover the video evidence of your drug dealing.

    I would go on (the list is staggeringly long), but I sincerely doubt that you are commenting in good faith. You’re more likely astroturfing for the Fords.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    Is that you, Dave From Scarborough?

    • Elise Aymer

      Or do you mean Ian from Etobicoke?

    • Elise Aymer

      Or do you mean Ian from Etobicoke?

  • tomwest

    4:55 “There are only so many times you can apologize”
    Quite right. After then it becomes meaningless.

  • tomwest

    What happened to 4a-4c?

  • Steveinto

    According to Doug Ford not all taxpayers are taxpayers. Thier list of non-taxpayers taxpayers just keeps growing.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      At the same time, the list of lefty elitist enemies keeps growing.

  • Casey Boudreau

    In what could have been Rob Ford’s finest hour, his chance to speak up for himself at the end of the meeting and give his fellow councilors a good reason to not vote in favour of the motions in front of them, he says “Go Argos”.

    He is clueless and without even a single iota of sense or humility.

    After watching today’s meeting, I’m also somewhat convinced Doug Ford is the Canadian version of Dick Cheney.

    • Testu

      No, he did even worse than that. He said go Ti-Cats.

      • Casey Boudreau

        Whoops! Fixed.

  • Kurblick

    Hi. Does anyone knows what an abstention counts as? Does it reduce the total votes (2/3rds) needed to pass, or does it essentially count as a “No” vote? Thanks

    • Kurblick

      For instance, does Mammoliti voting No or Abstaining make any real difference in say the narrow timing vote that carried 30/12? Did Rob Ford’s Abstention make a difference?

      • Testu

        nm. bad math

        • Kurblick

          Ok, so you’re saying that abstentions are EXCLUDED from the total vote counted, whereas a “No” or “Yes” would be included? So instead of the total being 45, Rob Ford and Mamolliti’s abstention dropped it to 43, and the votes needed to pass a bill would have likely been reduced? I just want to know for future reference.

          • Testu

            I’m not really sure whether they’re excluded or not, I was just pointing out that with 30 votes in favour it doesn’t matter either way as the 2/3rds majority requirement has been satisfied.

            None of the items except the sunset clause adjustment had under 30 votes in favour.

  • estta

    Is there one who hasn’t smoked crack? That’d be nice.

  • VictorianShuter

    Team sport, eh Di Giorgio? And if a player refuses to go to the bench?

  • OgtheDim

    Sick he would push anybody.